There's a gas war happening in California

In Jerry Brown's state of the state address, the governor of California laid out three potential energy targets for the year 2030: get 50 percent of the state's power from renewable energy, reduce petroleum use by 50 percent, and increase energy efficiency in buildings by 50 percent. All three aims are part of California's Renewable Portfolio Standard, a measure that is 15 years old and still in effect. It began with a target of 20 percent, that target was increased by law to 33 percent in 2011, with a target achievement date of 2020. A new bill, SB 350, wants to increase that number to Brown's suggested 50 percent by 2030.

Sponsored by Senate leader Kevin de León (pictured above left with Governor Brown), the bill has passed the California Senate, but now needs to clear an Assembly where, as characterized by the Los Angeles Times, "business-friendly Democrats hold more sway." The fight for and against passage has led to an advertising and social media war pitting environmentalists against an old foe, the oil and energy companies. The bill is called the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. The oil companies have called it the California Gas Restriction Act in ads.

An oil association spokesperson called SB 350 "a poor piece of public policy that doesn't contain really key, important details that will impact the lives of Californians," perhaps referring to the bill's stipulation that the California Air Resources Board be put in charge of the gas target. Lacking the money for a commensurate media blitzkrieg, the bill's supporters have put a bunch of information online including a comprehensive explanation, a list of myths surrounding the bill, fact sheets, and a few ways to achieve the higher standard. A vote is expected in the coming days.

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